Chicago's Ryley Walker releases music via Bloomington-based label Dead Oceans.

Ryley Walker is not bashful about his love for the Dave Matthews Band. In fact, the adventurous Chicago musician recently had a chance to meet Mr. Matthews himself, where the two discussed Walker’s recent re-recording of The Lillywhite Sessions.

“We hung out, and it was surreal and great,” Walker says. “He’s as nice as they come. He really dug the record.”

On Friday, Dec. 21, Walker will headline the White Rabbit Cabaret in Fountain Square with opening support from Mute Duo. Beforehand, we caught up with him for a quick email interview.

NUVO: Talk to me a little bit about Chicago’s jazz scene and how you originally got involved with it.

RYLEY WALKER: I’m hardly involved. I just have a lot of great pals who do it well. I think they are all very inspiring. I got involved from the ground up. Just went to gigs and formed some great friendships.

NUVO: What do you like about the jazz community in Chicago right now?

WALKER: It’s super far-out and creative. Feels futuristic.

NUVO: In that same vein, I know you’re pretty ingrained with Chicago’s experimental community as well. I recently chatted with Macie from Ohmme about how exciting things are in that capacity. Who or what excites you about the experimental music community in Chicago?

WALKER: The sheer amount of collaboration is super exciting to see. It’s amazing that everybody is super busy with making tunes.

NUVO: You did a re-recording of The Lillywhite Sessions this past year. What do you like about Dave Matthews’ songwriting on the project? What do you like about his songwriting overall?

WALKER: Dave is just part of my youth, and it was a blast to do. Overall, I think there is a lot of great energy, and his live gig pushes the limits.

NUVO: How did you first link up with Dead Oceans and what do you like about being a part of the Secretly family?

WALKER: They keep their ear to the ground for the newest tunes. I also had some friends who knew them. It’s a great fit, and they have supported me all the way from the start.

NUVO: If you could do your own rendition of a Secretly release (old or new), what would it be and why?

WALKER: Anything by Destroyer would be great. It would be a real challenge to take on his music. Mad genius.

NUVO: With it being this time of year, what’s your favorite holiday song and why?

WALKER: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Because it’s about an insane person hearing voices that aren’t there.

Seth Johnson, Music Editor at NUVO, can be reached by email at sjohnson@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-254-2400 or on Twitter @sethvthem

Music Editor

An Indianapolis native, I love all things music, especially of the local variety. My other passions also include comedy, social justice, and the Indiana Pacers.

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